Vitamin B12 is critical for maintaining nerve and blood health and creating new strands of DNA. Without enough B12, seniors might have impaired nerve cells that cause difficulty with cognition, anemia that makes them feel tired, or neuropathy that makes walking difficult. It is therefore one of the most important nutrients seniors can take, but many elderly people are deficient in this useful vitamin.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder care. Rockwall families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Here are 5 ways to help your senior loved one get enough vitamin B12.
1. Know the Recommended Daily Amount of Vitamin B12
Many seniors don’t get enough vitamin B12 because they do not realize their nutritional needs change with age. Seniors need at least 2.4 micrograms per day, but some doctors suggest up to 100 micrograms per day because seniors have trouble absorbing it. Sometimes, helping seniors become aware of their nutritional needs is enough to encourage them to read labels and eat more vitamin B12.
2. Eat Animal Products
The best sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, including meat, dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, and shellfish. Organ meats are particularly high in B12. For example, one 3-ounce serving of liver has 70 micrograms of B12. Cook foods rich in B12 for your loved one, such as a ham and cheese omelet, which contains three sources of the vitamin: eggs, dairy, and meat.
3. Find Grains and Vegetables with B12
Even if your loved one is vegan or does not like animal products, he or she can still get enough B12. Soy is a great source of B12, and your loved one can get 2 micrograms of the vitamin in a 3-ounce serving. Many grains are fortified with B12 to prevent deficiencies. Read labels to find cereals, breads, and other products with B12. Sea vegetables like kelp and nori also contain the vitamin.
4. Avoid Foods That Prevent B12 Absorption
Eating B12-rich foods will not be enough if your loved one cannot absorb the vitamin properly. Alcoholics are particularly prone to B12 deficiencies because alcohol damages the stomach lining and should be avoided. Ulcer and diabetes medications can prevent B12 absorption due to side effects. Certain heartburn medications can also cause B12 deficiencies. Your loved one should only stop taking medications that interfere with B12 absorption if a doctor recommends it.
5. Look into Supplements
Supplements may not be as easily absorbed as the B12 in foods, but it can be a good way to get your loved one to take enough vitamin B12. Find a supplement specifically formulated for elderly people that contains at least 25 micrograms per day. Talk to your loved one’s doctor before beginning supplementation to find one without any side effects. Supplements come as pills, nose sprays, and under-the-tongue medicines, so you can find one that is easy for your loved one to take.
If your loved one requires motivation to eat healthy and take his or her medications and supplements on time, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Rockwall, TX, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
Trained caregivers can provide specialized care for your loved one, especially if he or she has a serious age-related medical condition such as dementia. For dementia care Rockwall, TX, families can count on, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate caregivers use revolutionary memory care programs to help seniors stave off the progression of dementia, and they can also assist with a wide variety of important everyday tasks, including bathing, grooming, exercise, and cooking. For more information on our elderly care services, call one of our Care Managers at (972) 722-7833.